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The Grand Fleet: Warship Design and Development, 1906-1922 Paperback – Oct 30 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 235 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press; Reprint edition (Oct. 30 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184832085X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848320857
  • Product Dimensions: 26 x 22.3 x 1.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 726 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #47,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ned Middleton TOP 100 REVIEWER on April 24 2013
Format: Paperback
In this work, David Brown provides a fascinating and compelling explanation of the British side of an arms race in which he includes the developments in - and lessons learned from, a wide variety of ships and submarines - not just battleships.

The pace of change in warship design which gripped the world's major navies in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries remains the greatest arms race of all time. As an example of the changes which came into force, in 1903 the British Duncan class battleship came into service. These ships sported four 12 in. Guns and were powered by 2 x four-cylinder triple-expansion steam engines. Only three years later, however, HMS Dreadnought was commissioned. This ship was so revolutionary in terms of battleship design she immediately made all ships in all navies obsolete. The Dreadnought class carried ten 12 in. guns and her steam turbines drove four propellers at a much improved speed. From this point forward, all battleships throughout the world became classed as either `Dreadnought' or `pre-Dreadnought.'

The introduction of HMS Dreadnought now created a renewed arms race in which the world's navies sought to replace all their major warships - or risk being blown out of the water. As each new class of ship was then launched - so new innovations were introduced - all of which served to perpetuate the extraordinary competition which then existed.

Author David K. Brown had a distinguished career as a naval architect and rose to become the Deputy Chief Naval Architect of the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors prior to his retirement. For the next 30 years he wrote widely on warship design and became known as a trusted authority on the subject.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tony DiGiulian on June 9 2000
Format: Hardcover
I was somewhat disappointed in "The Grand Fleet 1906-1922," this latest effort by D.K. Brown. It's just not up to the standard of his earlier works, of which I have a high regard.
He second guesses US designer's analysis of British ships (like I always say, 20-20 hindsight is a wonderful thing) but then admits that these were probably for ships for which he (Brown) lacks references for. He then puts up future DNC Goodall's contemporary analysis of US designs without noting the errors contained in them that have been exposed for literally decades (see Friedman's "US Battleships" for one).
Mr. Brown also raises the old bug-a-boo about the all-or-nothing protection scheme of the "Standards" as being possibly overwhelmed by numerous hits on their unprotected ends. Somehow, he seems to be forgetting the fact that every post-war British capital ship design used nearly the same scheme, to say nothing that such fears were shown groundless by the pummeling that the USS Colorado received during WWII. If the all-or-nothing protection scheme was so bad, why then was it copied in most of its essentials in British post-WWI capital ship designs? Why didn't the Nelson's, KGV's, Lion's and Vanguard continue to use the incremental armor scheme so favored in the pre-war dreadnoughts? Perhaps Mr. Brown is saving such thoughts for the next volume in this series, but it's a glaring omission, nonetheless.
But, my very favorite passage was where Mr. Brown discusses the wartime exploits of British battlecruisers. In what can only be called revisionist history, Mr. Brown states that "the author believes that the basic concept of the battlecruiser was sound. Invincible's glorious career at Heligoland Bight, Falklands and Jutland justifies that statement.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Paul Goldman on May 24 2000
Format: Hardcover
The Grand Fleet: Warship Design and Development 1906-1922 covers exactly what the title sugggests, the developement of primarily the British fleet in the years leading up to, during and immediately after World War I. In my opinion this was a well written scholarly book that focuses on the design process and underlying assumptions that led to the developement of the modern battleship navy. The work is broken down into sections for each class of ship, I found the section on aircraft carriers to be extremely informative on the British methods of carrier operations and the developement of this naval arm. Each section is chock full of technical drawings and photos of the ships concerned. The actual descriptions of the shipos in combat during the World War is rather limited so I would not consider this book as a source for combat operations, the focus of this volume is on naval architecture. If you read John Massey's Dreadnought and are seeking more technical information then this book is definetely for you. If you are looking for a light read then I would steer elsewhere.
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Amazon.com: 8 reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
The Grand Fleet May 24 2000
By Kevin Paul Goldman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Grand Fleet: Warship Design and Development 1906-1922 covers exactly what the title sugggests, the developement of primarily the British fleet in the years leading up to, during and immediately after World War I. In my opinion this was a well written scholarly book that focuses on the design process and underlying assumptions that led to the developement of the modern battleship navy. The work is broken down into sections for each class of ship, I found the section on aircraft carriers to be extremely informative on the British methods of carrier operations and the developement of this naval arm. Each section is chock full of technical drawings and photos of the ships concerned. The actual descriptions of the shipos in combat during the World War is rather limited so I would not consider this book as a source for combat operations, the focus of this volume is on naval architecture. If you read John Massey's Dreadnought and are seeking more technical information then this book is definetely for you. If you are looking for a light read then I would steer elsewhere.
48 of 55 people found the following review helpful
A mixed-bag. June 9 2000
By Tony DiGiulian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was somewhat disappointed in "The Grand Fleet 1906-1922," this latest effort by D.K. Brown. It's just not up to the standard of his earlier works, of which I have a high regard.

He second guesses US designer's analysis of British ships (like I always say, 20-20 hindsight is a wonderful thing) but then admits that these were probably for ships for which he (Brown) lacks references for. He then puts up future DNC Goodall's contemporary analysis of US designs without noting the errors contained in them that have been exposed for literally decades (see Friedman's "US Battleships" for one).

Mr. Brown also raises the old bug-a-boo about the all-or-nothing protection scheme of the "Standards" as being possibly overwhelmed by numerous hits on their unprotected ends. Somehow, he seems to be forgetting the fact that every post-war British capital ship design used nearly the same scheme, to say nothing that such fears were shown groundless by the pummeling that the USS Colorado received during WWII. If the all-or-nothing protection scheme was so bad, why then was it copied in most of its essentials in British post-WWI capital ship designs? Why didn't the Nelson's, KGV's, Lion's and Vanguard continue to use the incremental armor scheme so favored in the pre-war dreadnoughts? Perhaps Mr. Brown is saving such thoughts for the next volume in this series, but it's a glaring omission, nonetheless.

But, my very favorite passage was where Mr. Brown discusses the wartime exploits of British battlecruisers. In what can only be called revisionist history, Mr. Brown states that "the author believes that the basic concept of the battlecruiser was sound. Invincible's glorious career at Heligoland Bight, Falklands and Jutland justifies that statement. The three magazine explosions at Jutland (and the later case of Hood) have obscured the real value of such ships."

Sorry, but that just reminds this reader of that famous U.S. saying, "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?" The exploits of a single ship, no matter how glorious, can not be said to justify a ship type that is most remembered for "sinking and leaving barely enough survivors to man a Yugo," to use a phrase I wish I'd thought of first (my hat's off to Cen). I'm afraid that the author's admiration for these ships' undeniably powerful appearance has kept him from applying his considerable talent for design analysis to their equally obvious flaws.

That said, this book does offer very interesting insights into the ships of all classes being built in Britain in the 1906-22 time frame. If you stick to following what the author knows best, the British design process, you won't go far wrong. His examples of British naval design thinking are mostly original, and include details for the lessor known ships, such as destroyers and submarines, that are so hard to find for pre-WWI vessels.

Finally, he cleared up something that has always puzzled me; why the British were so reluctant to fit super-firing turrets on their warships. For that alone, this book was a worthy addition to my library.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
covers design process from a new angle April 27 2005
By Jeremy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not a "how to design a battleship" book like Norman Friedman's excellent work, nor a design review and history like R. A. Burt or Oscar Parkes might produce, but more a technical history of which problems and threats were understood and when, what technologies were available to address them, and how warship design evolved to accomodate them.

He has fascinating sections on oil fuel, masting etc. He povides many charts and graphs, including such things as incidence of seasickness by length of ship! Overall, this is a wonderful resource for wargamers.
Overpriced Thumbnail Sketches March 11 2014
By Reinaldo L. Andujar - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was a disappointment. The title and blurb description gives the impression that this would be a tome on the development and evolution of the various classes of battleship and accompanying warships of the Grand Fleet. Instead it provides thumbnail sketches of each and every class of warship in the Royal Navy starting from the introduction of the HMS Dreadnought to end of WWI hostilities. Other publications have given better details on the classes of warships.
An excellent compendium! March 5 2014
By Eric Husher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is really one of the best technical works on the subject of 'The grand fleet' of the First World War, and I can recommend it very highly indeed. I only wish someone would write something similar of the German High Seas Fleet as well!

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